In this section
the term used to describe the impaired speech pattern caused by
brain or nerve damage to the speech muscles. A speech pathologist
can assess a child's speech and provide treatment and strategies to
help the child and their family.
Dysarthria can result in paralysis, weakness or
lack of coordination of the muscles of the tongue, lips, palate,
jaw and larynx. It can also affect breathing.
Therefore, dysarthria may involve problems in more than one
area of speech, such as breathing, articulation, rhythm,
rate or resonance of voice.
Dysarthric speech may be characterised
Dysarthric speech can range from mild to
severely impaired, where a person's speech may no longer be
A speech pathologist
can assess your child's speech and provide appropriate treatment
to help specific difficulties. Assessment often involves
watching your child at meal times, listening to their speech and
doing an oral-motor examination which includes your child
making different movements with their mouth and tongue.
Treatment for dysarthria
may involve specific exercises to improve the strength, range and
rate of movements of affected muscles as well as providing strategies to help lessen the effects of the dysarthria. The speech pathologist will also consider
whether your child can use strategies to make their
speech clearer such as:
The speech pathologist
will work closely with your child's family, school and significant carers to
help make communication easier. This may
include tips such as:
If a child's speech is very impaired, the speech pathologist can teach
them to use another communication system to express
themselves. This may include gestures, signing, picture symbols, a
voice output device or writing to convey a message.
Developed by the
RCH Paediatric Rehabilitation
Service. Based on the
Dysarthria factsheet from the Brain Injury Service at Westmead
Children's Hospital (with permission). First published Nov 2006.
This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. The authors of these consumer health information handouts have made a considerable effort to ensure the information is accurate, up to date and easy to understand. The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in these handouts. Information contained in the handouts is updated regularly and therefore you should always check you are referring to the most recent version of the handout. The onus is on you, the user, to ensure that you have downloaded the most up-to-date version of a consumer health information handout.